Category: Food

Five Edibles You Can Grow Indoors

Here we are smack dab in the middle of winter and I’m starting to miss walking to the vegetable garden, snips in hand, to gather ingredients for dinner. To tide me over until it’s time to plant spring crops I’m actually growing a few things indoors. I won’t be harvesting any tomatoes, but at least I can get my hands dirty and enjoy the satisfaction of adding a few fresh ingredients to my recipes.

Here are five edibles you can grow indoors this winter.

Edibles to Grow Indoors

  • Lemons and Limes
    Citrus won’t give you instant gratification, but you can enjoy the sweet scent of the blooms while you wait for the fruits. Look for a variety that is known to thrive indoors and produces year-round such as Meyer lemon or Bearss lime. Place the tree near a bright, southern or western facing window and away from sources of heat. Deep soak the soil every 5 to 7 days. Citrus prefer slightly acidic soil and high nitrogen fertilizer. Feed with a slow release fertilizer designed for citrus plants and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Sprouts
    Soak seeds in water overnight. Drain, rinse and drain again. Place the seeds in a quart sized Mason jar. Cover the top with cheese cloth secured with a rubber band. Set the jar in a dark place propped at a slight angle. Rinse and drain the seeds with cold water twice a day for about 4 to 5 days, at which point you will have mature sprouts. Place the jar of sprouts in indirect light and they will green up. Rinse in cold water and store in the refrigerator.
  • Micro Greens
    Micro greens are the baby leaves of fast sprouting seeds such as lettuce, radish and basil. The leaves are harvested while still small. To grow micro greens sow the seeds in sterile potting soil, cover with about ¼ inch of soil and mist the soil daily to keep moist. Keep the seeds warm until they begin to sprout then move the container to a sunny window. Ideally the plants need 12 hours of light for healthy growth so a grow light might be required. Depending on the type of plant you grow you should have harvestable leaves in 14 to 30 days.
  • Garlic Greens
    Garlic greens are a great substitute for fresh chives or scallions. Pot up about 10 organic cloves (ne need to peel) in a 4-inch container. Place in a sunny window and water consistently. Harvest the leaves when they are about 8 inches tall. When the cloves stop sprouting toss them into the compost bin and pot up another 10 cloves.
  • Mushrooms
    Growing mushrooms is pretty easy when you start with a kit. Everything you need comes in the package and all you need to do is keep the growing medium moist. Heck, you don’t even have to take these mushroom growing kits from Peaceful Valley out of the box.

Old Traditions, New Recipes


During the holidays, I always look forward to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a Smith Family Christmas. The holiday traditions of my family have been carried throughout the years, and I love passing our family stories and recipes on to my nieces and nephews. This year, though, I’m hoping to create a new tradition around the dinner table with an alternative to our typical recipes- this year, I’m making Pekin Duck.

Pekin Duck is one of my favorite “sounds fancy, cooks easy” main dishes, and when paired with a citrus glaze it is a beautiful and delicious meal with a holiday twist. Long Island Ducks are what we know as “Pekin.” They were bred in China and in 1873, exported to Long Island. It’s the most common duck meat consumed in the U.S. and in my opinion, the tastiest. We tend to rely on the holiday meal staples, but I think trying out a different bird this year will be a hit and hopefully start a tradition of trying new recipes each holiday.

Pekin Duck with Mandarin Sauce

Say Happy Thanksgiving with Brussels Sprouts

Thanksgiving is the big holiday for my family- no matter where we host it, we’re all in a frenzy of activity. The kids are playing in the yard, uncles and aunts are enjoying the fire, and my cousins, siblings and I are busy catching up while also putting the finishing touches on lunch. When we finally sit down at the table, though, it’s hard to talk to everyone during lunch because everyone in my family loves to eat.

I find that it just takes one recipe to bridge the gap between the adult and kid’s table, though. Desserts are always a good go-to, but last year I tried fresh Brussels sprouts. I know what you’re thinking- “my kids would never eat Brussels sprouts!” But try this recipe and I bet you’ll be surprised just how many members of your family ask for seconds.

Tarragon Pimiento Brussels Sprouts

Heritage Apples Welcome Autumn

Do you want more information on heritage apples? Check out my column in this month’s AY Magazine. Click here to read it online.


This time of year sends my senses into a whirlwind. I love how so many of the sights, sounds and smells around me proudly announce autumn’s arrival. Heritage apples are the perfect example- come November, their colors are bright, their taste is crisp and fresh, and their smell… well, there is nothing better than the smell of baking apples wafting through the house.


The week leading up to Thanksgiving is one in which I don’t spend much time cooking, but I couldn’t help throwing together this 5-ingredient Apple Tart Tatin recipe yesterday. It is quick and easy to make, and I might even add it to the Thanksgiving menu because it certainly gets me in the mood for the holidays.


1 pre-made piecrust

1/2 cup sugar in the raw

6 apples, peeled cored and quartered

7 ounces butter

3/4 cup sugar


In a heavy, oven safe, 9-inch skillet combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sugar in the raw with 7 ounces of butter. Cook over a medium high heat until amber in color and brown around the edges. This should take about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat and carefully circle the apple wedges around the skillet positioning them so they all face in the same direction. Place the apples as tightly together as possible because they will shrink during cooking.

Top the apples with a round pie crust that overlaps the skillet by about 1/2 inch all around. Fold the crust overlap toward the center. Push the edge of the pie crust down into the skillet with a rubber spatula or something similar to seal all the apple goodness inside. Cut 3 or 4 vent holes in the top of the crust.

Bake in the pre-heated 350 degree F oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the skillet from the oven and cool. Place a dish at least 1-inch larger in diameter than the skillet on top of the skillet. Carefully flip the tart to where the pie crust is now on the bottom with the plate.


Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Eat Local

If there’s one thing I really love about Arkansas, it’s got to be the sense of community. People know each other by name here; know about their families and lives and what they like to get up to on the weekend. Recently, there’s been a lot of development of that community-vibe in our food system. I’ve been thinking about local food sources and the community it creates, and so I went out and spoke with a few people from restaurants or markets that source local ingredients.

We throw that term “local” around loosely, but what does it really mean?

“Food you love from people you know- that’s really what it’s about. It’s more than getting yourself full, it’s a connection,” said Stephanie Hamling, a jack-of-all-trades at North Little Rock’s Argenta Market.

The Argenta Market is a grocery and deli in the downtown community of Argenta that draws clientele and goods, from the adjacent Saturday farmer’s market. Hamling said there’s a good “synergy” between the two – Argenta Market offers the farmers free coffee, and when the farmer’s market ends they’ll come in to see what we need for the upcoming week in produce, jams, cheese, and sauces.

“We have over 100 local vendors, and they make this a destination spot,” Hamling said. She works on the website, manages customer service, and sources local products, but while she was originally a graphic artist, it’s the relationship with the customers that is her real concern. She said that she knows 75% of the people who walk through the front door, and while I was having lunch from the deli I saw her walk up to a man and hand him a gift certificate because she “appreciates him always coming to visit them.”

That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about community. But there’s more to it than that.

Loblolly Creamery is soda fountain a few blocks from our office. The digital team takes a walk over there at least once a week – it’s their “spot”, so to speak. For Sally Mengel, co-owner of the artisan ice cream shop, a local business is one that supports its community.

“We do that by buying all local ingredients and making everything from scratch,” the artisan ice cream maker said.

While we talked about their small-batch ice creams and traditional Arkansas ingredients, Sally said hi to a few customers by name, and knew what a couple of them were going to order.

“It makes it more enjoyable – you know who you’re serving, you get to know people. We’re creating this dialogue- we’re not a traditional soda fountain, sometimes we don’t even have vanilla. We’re kind of opening people’s perceptions and palettes… All with local ingredients.”

I like to buy Arkansas ingredients for a lot of reasons – I’m from Arkansas, want to support my fellow farmers and have those dollars flowing back into my state’s economy. Like Jack Sundell, from The Root Café, said, “whether its food or a hammer from a hardware store, if you seek out local suppliers you’re supporting all that local business, a place that has its own personality, and your community on the whole.”

But Brandon Brown, owner of Hillcrest Artisan Meats (“H.A.M.”), noted that “local” is kind of a trendy topic, and one that doesn’t always work for a business model.

“There’s a big difference between local food and good local food,” he said. “I think that people fall into a trap of ‘just because it’s local it’s great.’ There’s a lot of local stuff that’s not great.”

While we sat in the in the charcuterie, rich aromas hanging in the air, Brown pointed out the pictures adorning the wall – pictures from the farms where they source their meat, both in Arkansas and around it. He and his wife moved to Arkansas from Oregon, and saw an immediate need for a free-range, grass-fed meat source and started to befriend farmers, some of whom are in those photos.

“We were really disappointed in the food that’s available in Little Rock – so we opened this place out of selfishness and necessity!” he said with a laugh.

And that’s why he, and others, see the local food movement as an opportunity to educate.

“People expect to come here and have every vegetable or egg to be local. I try to explain that we don’t have local milk because our last local dairy closed a few years ago or that you just can’t grow avocados in Arkansas, so we have to source them from somewhere else,” Hamling said about Argenta Market. “I think we’re educators more than anything else.”

Part of that education means explaining that the price of high-quality, locally grown food is worth the extra cash.

Brown told a story of a first time customer coming in to pick up a whole chicken. When Brown rang his total up- about $20 for just the bird- the man was appalled by the price, but bought it anyway. By the next afternoon, the customer had posted to HAM’s Facebook page an essay about just how wonderful that chicken was and how he’d never buy another commercial chicken again.

“It’s really expensive to grow meat well, without hormones. What we buy it for reflects that, what we sell it for has to reflect that,” Hamling said.

Sundell says that there’s no comparison between these high-quality local foods and industrial products – people want good taste and good health.

“People are interesting in eating healthier. You’re eating local food closer to the time it was picked, so it just has more nutritional value than a tomato that was picked two weeks ago, shipped green, & sprayed with ethylene gas to ripen. It looks like a tomato, but it doesn’t taste like a tomato,” Sundell said. “Another big issue is transparency. You hear about food borne illnesses and outbreaks – that type of thing rarely happens when you’re dealing with a local food system because production isn’t so industrialized.”

And less industrialization means better tasting food.

“It doesn’t take a chef or a knowledgeable food critic to taste the difference between an Arkansas tomato and a store-bought tomato. There’s no comparison.” Sundell said.

When I go to the farmer’s market, I see a mixed bag of people both selling and shopping – young, old, first-time farmers, third-generation land owners. But eating local food isn’t a new idea.

“Before there was convenience food and all these packaged goods, people grew their own food and had to buy from farmers… But now it’s becoming more valued,” Mengel said.

Hamling echoed that sentiment.

“In generations past everybody was trying to get off the farm, but now I think people are looking for community and connection where they can get it, like going back to the land, and we want to support that.”

Like I said, I love the community aspect of my home state. We support our farmers, and there is a growing movement of people who want to make that more common. I think local food and the fellowship it creates is a powerful movement, but I couldn’t say it better than Jack Sundell does.

“I don’t see it as something that’s a passing fad. With local food, it’s something that builds community so naturally and it’s something that people really crave and haven’t had access to. When they come together over good food, I think they get something special that you can’t just find anywhere.”

American Farmer: Community Supported Agriculture

When I was growing up, it wasn’t unusual to know where your food came from. I don’t mean which grocery store or restaurant- I’m talking about food that went from the ground onto your dinner table, I’m talking about farms and farmers, gardens and gardeners. I’ve spent most of my life on a farm, but I know that this isn’t the reality for most Americans.

My social media coordinator Anna Claire really cares about food systems- in fact, that’s one of the reasons we get along best. But she didn’t grow up on a farm, in fact she just started gardening this year. During one of our discussions I suggested she take advantage of a local resource – Heifer Ranch, a division of Heifer International. Located just outside of town, it’s a great place to learn about community supported agriculture and pick up a few pointers for her garden. I thought you might be interested in hearing about it too.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a combination of knowing your farmer, growing your own, and going to a farmer’s market… all in one. At its most basic level, a CSA allows a farmer to offer a certain number of “shares” to the public and in return for buying that share, shareholders receive a box of vegetables (or flowers, eggs, bread, or whatever else was produced at the farm that week) each week throughout the farming season.

The model has taken hold across the nation- tens of thousands of families hold shares in CSAs and in some areas there aren’t enough farms to support the demand. It just so happens that Heifer Ranch has a one acre vegetable garden that serves a CSA of about 60 members that each pay $350 a season, or about $20 a week for a basket of approximately 10 items. Some weeks you’ll get more – when Anna Claire visited the CSA drop-off, shareholders were getting 12 items and a $40 value- and some weeks you’ll get less. But each week you know that you’re getting fresh, typically organic produce because you know your farmer and you know your farm.

And that’s not the only advantage- because you receive only fruits and vegetables that are in season, you get exposed to new vegetables and ways of cooking. And the farmer benefits just as much as the consumer – instead of spending a couple of days a week driving to and sitting at a market just hoping that someone will stop in and buy something, they spend time marketing their food earlier in the season so that when the longer days in the field begin, they don’t have to worry about cash flow because the food is already purchased. Therefore, you’re supporting local business, too.

On the flip side, there is a sense of “shared risk” when it comes to CSAs. When a shareholder buys in, they’re agreeing to accept whatever food is offered. Last year, the Heifer CSA had a tough spell when a flash flood left them cabbage-less after months of tending the garden. CSA baskets for consumers were lighter for the next couple of weeks. This year, there seems to be an endless supply of broccoli, so consumers may be getting more of one thing than they like. But there is a sense of community between the members and the farmers that springs from that shared risk.

Heifer International is a global non-profit that I plan to write more about in the future, but the Ranch itself is what I find most fascinating. The average age of American farmers is 57, but to visit Heifer Ranch it’s easy to see that the face of agriculture is changing. A young man named Ryan heads up the CSA and has two full-time volunteers, Brittany and Kenny. They both are giving a year of unpaid service to learn – and teach – about farming. One of the main projects at the Ranch is to offer sustainable agriculture training to farmers from impoverished areas in the US. Right now, the focus is on Hughes, a one-diner town in the Arkansas Delta. The practices that Heifer is teaching this community were learned and perfected on the Ranch.

Another major task involves teaching young students about food and farming. Groups of students on field trips or summer programs will visit the farm almost every day and part of their visit gets the students’ hands busy harvesting beans or other easy-to-pick items. While the extra help is valued, Brittany, Kenny and Ryan also get the chance to share their farming experiences and teach an even younger generation about knowing where their food comes from. For the rest of their day, Brittany, Kenny and Ryan spend long days in the hot Arkansas summers working to produce healthy crops for the CSA and learn enough to run their own farms, and maybe CSAs, someday soon.

Half of Heifer’s shareholders are new this year, so it’s likely that they’re learning about or getting involved with a CSA for the first time. One new share holder got involved because a close friend swore by it, and now looks forward to trying a new recipe with seasonal vegetables each week. Another woman loves the convenience of the CSA, but also loves that she knows her farmers and is supporting a good cause. It may not be the best option for everyone, but I think a CSA is a great way to support a local food culture and eat well throughout the year.

Grilled Fried Chicken Lee Bailey’s Brownies

One of my favorite places in the world is a town on a small island off the coast of Maine called Stonington. The ferny woods skirting the edge of the water, the rumble of lobster boats, foggy mornings and intensely sunny afternoons are just a few of the things I love about it. Part of my heart is always there, especially in summer when it’s 100+ degrees here and delightfully cool in Stonington.

One of my favorite people on the island is Kyra Alex, exceptional quilter, owner of Lily’s Café, chef, and cookbook author. Her brownies are so good I want to rub them in my hair! They are the perfect dessert for July 4th festivities (so good with homemade vanilla ice cream) and Kyra was kind enough to send me the recipe along with a grilled “fried” chicken.

Even though I now have the know-how to make her brownies myself they’ll never be as good as Kyra’s. They are best eaten sitting in the dining room at Lily’s in the company of the cook.

If you want to know more about Kyra visit her blog While you are there, be sure to order one of her cookbooks.

Hello all and thank you so much for having me here. I am writing this from beautiful Stonington, an island off the mid-coast of Maine. I have been taking a year of pause from my busy café – Lily’s – where I had the pleasure of meeting Allen through mutual friends, oh so many years ago. As special as he makes us all feel, I know in my heart that it was my brownies that kept him coming back in, year after year.

I am happy to share the recipe for these rich chocolate delights with you, along with something  else I just came up with that has made my summer entertaining easy peasy:

Fried chicken – summer style! Shedding its flour and oil coat for a crispy, charred on the grill look. Still moist and tender on the inside with that familiar spicy undertone, yet, light and easy, just like summer should be. A honey mustard dipping sauce really puts a hat on this beauty.

1 chicken approximately 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces

1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4-3/4 teaspoon cayenne (depends on how spicy you like it)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion

Mix all rub ingredients in a small bowl. Season chicken all over with rub mixture and place in a medium bowl, cover and chill overnight. Take chicken from fridge about an hour before you are ready to grill it to bring it to room temperature.

The key to cooking the chicken on a charcoal grill is to use indirect heat. Light your coals and pile them to one side. When the coals are white and red hot place the chicken pieces directly over the fire until you get nice grill marks on each piece, moving them over to the cooler non charcoal side as you achieve this. It should only take a few minutes for each piece, so don’t leave them unattended or you will burn your chicken.

Once all the chicken is chargrilled, arrange the pieces so they are all skin side up, cover completely with the grill lid, leaving the vent holes closed and cook until the meat is firm to the touch and the juices run clear, or until the breast meat registers 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer inserted in the middle of the meat, without touching bone. Dark meat should register 175 degrees F.

Let stand for 10 minutes before diving in!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon honey

Whisk together, adjust seasoning with salt if necessary. These are approximate amounts, if you like more mustard, add it!  Same with the honey.


This makes a big pan of decadent brownies that are just as good the next day.

4 sticks of unsalted butter (1 pound)
16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, plus 3 cups in a separate bowl
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup sifted, unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12×18-inch jelly roll pan and set aside.

Melt together the butter, pound of chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate until smooth. I do this in a microwave on low, removing them just before they are totally melted and stirring them until smooth. You can also use a double boiler.

Cool the melted chocolate to room temperature – this is very important.

Combine, but don’t whisk, the eggs, espresso, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the cooled chocolate, set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix this into the batter until no white shows. Finally, fold in the remaining 3 cups of chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. It is important not to over bake these. Allow to cool and cut into squares.


Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena with its sugary lemon scent is an herb you’ll want to have in your garden for the fragrance and flavor. And plant it somewhere close! It’s one of those plants that release scent every time you touch the leaves.

Lemon verbena is a shrubby herb with loose, twisting branches and bright green foliage. It can grow to 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide where it is perennial (zones 8 – 11). In my zone 7 garden it stays a little more contained because I grow it in a pot that I move indoors for winter. It’s a fast grower that needs full sun and excellent drainage – too much water will rot the roots! Lemon verbena has a sweet lemon flavor – I tend to use it with desserts and as a seasoning for meat dishes, but I also love placing it near my outdoor living areas so I can enjoy its lemony scent. In fact, it was its lemony scent that led me to make this lemon verbena infused honey, and I can’t wait for you to try it.

What you’ll need

  • A few stems of lemon verbena, cleaned and dried
  • 1 mason jar
  • Honey

All it takes is a little herb-tidying. Pluck the lemon verbena leaves off of their stems, rinse them, and dry them with a paper towel. Loosely fill a mason jar with the leaves and then pour the honey over the top. While you may want to try it right away, put the jar in a cupboard for a few weeks to infuse. After two weeks strain the honey to remove the leaves.

You’ll end up with a lovely lemon-flavored honey that you can stir into tea, drizzle over nuts or cheese, or use as a sweetener.

Do you want to know more about this great herb? Jump over to the Bonnie Plants website to read about growing lemon verbena.

Eat Your Black-eyed Peas

Christmas may be over, but the celebrating isn’t; New Year’s is less than a week away. If you’re in the southern United States, you can bet that black-eyed peas will be on the day’s menu. All good Southerners know that if you want to have good luck in 2012, you’ve got to eat at least a spoonful of black-eyed peas.

The traditional dish, Hoppin’ John, consists of rice and black-eyed peas seasoned with onions and pork (bacon or a ham hock), but these days pretty much anything goes from black-eyed pea cakes to black-eyed pea salsa. At the Garden Home Retreat you’ll find us eating salt pork black-eyed peas, turnip greens and cornbread. The turnip greens ensure wealth in the New Year and you’ve got to have cornbread to soak up all the good sauce.

Here’s a recipe for salt pork black-eyed peas. Top them with a tomato relish, hot sauce or some folks even like their peas with catsup.


  • 3 cups dried peas
  • 6 slices of salt pork
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Water


Soak the peas overnight and drain.

Place salt pork in a medium sized pot and cover with water. The water line should be about 1 inch above the pork. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 1 hour. You’ll know it’s ready when the water looks oily.

Add the prepared peas, onion and crushed red pepper. Again, the water line should be about 1 inch above the peas. Cook for about 30 minutes and then check for doneness. They should be tender, but not mushy. The fresher the dried peas, the quicker they will cook.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot.

Happy Thanksgiving

As a child, I remember Thanksgiving meals at my grandparents’ house. My brothers, sister, cousins, and I would play outside all morning and eat peanuts we roasted over the old wood burning stove. My grandfather grew peanuts so there was always plenty to keep us going until lunch.

Red cheeked and hungry, we would run into a house full of mouth watering aromas. After washing up, we would all gather around for the meal – we small ones at the kids’ table on the back porch and the adults in the dining room.  Before dining in we would stand in a circle holding hands around the “big” table and my grandfather would say the blessing.  All the wonderful dishes made it hard to sit through the prayer, but as I grew older I learned to listen to what he was saying and now, as an adult, I hear his words  echoed around my own Thanksgiving table. That’s what this celebration is all about, being thankful for the blessings of the year and rejoicing in the bounty of the harvest.

Many members of my family are gone now, but their memories are very much alive and with us on Thanksgiving. Every year I dig out my grandmother’s recipe for corn bread dressing and my sister always makes mother’s cranberry relish. My young nieces and nephews have taken the place of my brothers, sister and cousins around the kids’ table and we’re passing on to them this very American tradition that each family has made into their own.

This recipe is included in my cookbook. Click on the book image to learn more.Josephine Foster’s Cornbread Dressing

2 tablespoons bacon drippings

1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 cups buttermilk

1 (6 to 7 pound) roasting chicken
8 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 celery rind, including leaves, chapped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
12 slices day-old white bread, crumbled
1 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 level tablespoon rubbed sage
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

First, prepare the cornbread batter: Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg and buttermilk, stirring well to combine.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Add bacon drippings to a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet and place in the oven for 4 minutes, or until it is hot.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven, and spoon the batter into the sizzling bacon drippings. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cornbread is lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the oven and turn the cornbread out onto a wire rack to cool.

Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken (reserve them if you’ll be making gravy). Thoroughly rinse the chicken inside and out. Place it in a stockpot, and cover it with cold water by about 2 inches.  Bring the water to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove the chicken and set aside while preparing the dressing. Reserve the broth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, and set it aside.

Crumble the cooled cornbread into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the celery, onions, and green onions, and cook until they are tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Then add the mixture to the bowl containing the cornbread. Also add the crumbled white bread, 2 ½ to 3 cups of the reserved chicken broth, the half-and-half, beaten eggs, salt, sage, and black pepper. Mix everything well to combine.  Taste for seasoning. Spoon the dressing mixture into the baking dish. Place the chicken on top of the dressing – either whole or cut in pieces. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is brown on top and the dressing bubbly around the edges. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.